‘Networking’ – Life After College

The other day we had a lady named Patrisha come in to the College for us to talk about networking and developing our understanding of the practical and other uses of the act of ‘networking’. It was an interesting talk filled with discussions about what networking meant and how to network effectively, with development on how to keep calm and what you need to network.
I already had an issue with the idea of this talk from the beginning due to the subject area, as I have developed a dislike for the term ‘networking’ as I don’t feel it’s the correct or appropriate term to use. The talk overall had some useful points and was interesting to see how this is approached from a more business like sense, but I still did not agree with the approach and idea overall. I think it’ the idea that people would simply go to events to hand someone a business card and expect to find a job without any real intention of getting to simply meet more people within the same field. Sadly more times than any I’ve had people just want to give me or seen people give a business card and then leave without much more than a “hi, what do you do?”.

Patrisha did see the idea of networking through the means of getting to know people as well though of course and wasn’t to simply get a job, but the other ideas are still within the teachings. There are too many terminology that have bad connotations to what ‘networking’ is meant to be, looking at it as a means of selling yourself, to get more ‘resources’ and to target people you want to talk to. I have always done a bit of background research on people and wanted to talk to specific people within the after parties of events or other meet ups, but the idea of simply targeting them is somewhat odd and wrong. You could probably see my view of networking from my notes that I made below, but I do understand the importance of talking to other people and getting out there as it has helped me so much through the people I now know, but this is the wrong way to approach that in my mind. I feel as though if I am to attend these events and I want to meet, work with and get to know more people, I aim to talk to people I either really admire and love their work of, not just aim to get work or know someone because they work in the industry. I see it as if I was to talk to someone, it is because I simply want to get to know them and meet more people and not to simply get another contact. I understand that this is only just one approach and it works for some, but this is just my personal take.

We were also given sheets on ‘Making the Most of Networking Events’ and ‘How to Make Networking Work for You’.

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Antony Ward

Not too long ago we had the very talented and interesting Antony Ward come in to talk to us about his past, his work, being freelance and for general chat about the world of 3D, animating and games developing. I had my laptop out for this talk and was able to get quite a few notes down whilst he was giving the talk.
It was interesting to hear his progress in the game development area as well as hearing the journey he took into freelancing and how that’s turning out for himself. You can never get too much advice and input from someones personal experience, and no more is more interesting and useful than someone such as Antony with so much experience and having had so much diversity in work.

Notes:
Software (previous use)
artist 2 – 2 colours per 8×8 square
DPaint Anim

building on own portfolio within 3DS Max
left first company before collapse

moving to Krisalis software working on the unreleased LEGO Fantasy
not well organised with a lack of direction
sadly closed but then moved onto Gremlin Interactive
creating rigging tool ‘creature tools’ having to deal with rigging 60 characters
MEL scripting

Moved into EA as associate character animator
re-using past systems and tools created
working on untouchables which was unreleased due to the similar game coming out, ‘Need For Speed’

due to personal reasons, wanted to leave EA and move back to Leeds but was asked to keep working from Leeds
decided to leave because of wanting to go freelance

while at infograms, created a tutorial with character modelling which became quite popular
wanting to show the whole process, created first book ‘Game Character – Development with Maya’
in spare time working on the book whilst being at EA
18 months to complete

Sumo Digital
started on ‘Trixter’ and moved onto to other projects
Outrun 2006: Coast to Coast
Broken Sword: The Angel of Death
Sega Superstars Tennis
Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing
made Lead Artist but didn’t feel as though it was the right path
most see moving up ‘the ladder’ as the way to go but the higher he went, the less work he would create
left to pursue a freelance career

2007 onwards – freelance
wanting to experience more within the industry
no regular income
scary move
going freelance meant he had to be prepared to do other things as well
always being open to various jobs
Lloyds TSB
Ragdoll Productions
Sumo Digital
Just add water

next book ‘Game Character Development’
only 6 months to complete within spare time but purely on modelling the character
no point in repeating the whole process again

taking a break from modelling
for Abney & Teal, created a 2D rig to animate in 3D
purely all MEL scripting, easier to script it all than create a rig and do edits and have to make it again

‘3D Modeling in Silo’
Publisher approached him this time

‘Strangers Wrath’
Upgrading 86 characters from original Xbox to PS3
most characters went from 3,000 to 20,000 polys
but had to reuse Maya 4.5 and original rids
went from 3 month contract to 16 months
interesting challenge to think bout all the problems and issues

3D World
looking on Twitter again
went on to do some tutorials covering various topics
– Character Modelling
– Character & Vehicle Rigging
– Dynamics Simulations
– Game Development
– Top Tips Series

Nice being freelance, having the chance to do a lot of different things
when you’re freelance, you don’t have a break
Digital Tutors then found him
approached in Dec 2011
about 8 courses so far – between 2 & 7 hours of video
courses include
– Creating a Cowgirl
– Low Poly Character & Vehicle Creation
– High Poly Aircraft Creation
– Sci-Fi Hero

get use to things not being released
still getting paid and rolled onto another project
always working on your own portfolio
can have some people who are a bit bad on the pay etc
get use to working within a studio first and then perhaps go freelance rather than other way around due to contacts, understanding, learning from the good and bad
a lot of it is ‘who you know not what just you know’
having knowledge in other areas but it is nice to have that specialism
if going freelance, if all they do is one area then they’ll have to narrow the work

never happy with his work and always building upon his own skill and improve
reach out to more clients
using and improving ZBrush
improve drawing skills again
‘getting use to a mouse means you loose out on the 2D drawing skills’

Begin writing for CGTuts+
Creating MiniCrits which last about 5 mins

when started going freelance it went from being online
looking constantly
getting your name out there
getting a website sorted
being at the right place at the right time
online networking
DO MORE ONLINE!

understanding the work in progress, breakdowns and showing the potential to development rather than just having a great looking final piece
learning scripting slightly would be good, dabble in it to understand the basics

Contact info:
ant-online.co.uk
vimeo.com/anchuvi

Oliver Jeffers

Whilst walking around the city center not too long ago, I had noticed within Waterstones, a certain artist and writer that I knew Sacha loved very much and thought it would be a perfect break and general day out for her. Trying to keep it a secret as long as I could, I had told Sacha about Oliver Jeffers book signing at Waterstones Leeds. She was of course over the moon and had straight away told Lydia who also loved his work.

We had attended the book signing that day and sadly only had a short talk with Oliver Jeffers but it was great to meet such a talented man. I had only really heard about his work when one of his books ‘Lost and Found’ was made into an animation not too long ago. Since then I’ve really loved his style and approach to illustration that includes a very hand drawn and child like feel which really appeals to me. Something similar to Scott C, both their use of colour and line are things I keep trying to think of within my own work.

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IMAG0469

From events like these, I keep seeing the importance of getting out and keeping up to date with events and artists. With realising this, I’ve been very busy recently trying to simply get out and meet as many different and nice people out their in the creative industry. This also comes back to the many hours I have now spent working Creative Network nights at the College meeting and listening to many various creatives throughout the years. It’s become very clear to me that no matter where you are, student or not, it’s the determination, confidence and general nice attitude that gets you through the tough journey to becoming a creative.

Studios

Luckily I came across two very important books, one which I may have mentioned before, which is pretty much the directory to the studios.

scan 4

scan 3

Both books house a large database of various studios and companies that would be of interest to any animator, film maker, game designer or general creative within my area of study. The list of studios and places to keep close watch of are luckily familiar to me but some I need to do more research in. I’ll be going through the lists and lists of studios no doubt to see what studios really excite me and bring in my interest to hopefully aim for one day or at least visit and understand.

Ian Mackinnon in Manchester

Not too long ago myself and Sacha got wind of a certain brilliant creative giving a talk in Manchester at the MediaCityUK area, from a good friend of ours Ellie Ragdale.

It was great fun heading over to Manchester MediaCityUK which I had not actually known about until the trip which I feel very ashamed of. For those who don’t know MediaCityUK within Manchester is the host of one of the BBC studios which hoses some of their studios which record some of BBC’s most favourite TV programs.

Such as Doctor Who at times!

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It was a really good short talk by Ian Mackinnon and another animator named Max Hattler. It was really interesting to hear about Ian’ back history and some of the tips and stories he had to tell. I’ve always been interested in Mackinnon and Saunders since I had heard about them a few years ago at Bradford Animation Festival. I had previously tried to see if I could visit or even talk to people at Mackinnon and Saunders but it’s been very difficult because of how much they do and how busy they are. So this was a big surprise and exciting to hear we could meet and learn more about this side of animation and the creative industry.

After the talk I was able to get a close look at the models that Ian had brought it. He mainly brought in work from Frankanweenie and talked about the process and back history of both his work and Mackinnon and Saunders. Having done his talk I was able to catch him for a short chat and feedback on my showreel as well as some of the final major project work I had started on. He was able to give me some great feedback and was really nice about my work, it was fun to get a bit of travelling around Manchester done as well as all the animation meeting fun. From the feedback Ian was able to give me, I’ve been able to sort out some of my final major project as well as my own professional practice. I took some notes over the talk within my sketchbook which I’ve scanned in below.

mackinnon

Matt Saunders aka Rabbit Portal

This was meant to be posted back in November but sadly kept getting put back through bad planning but here is the post about when he came in and had a bit of a talk with us!
I’ve spoken about Matt now a few times recently because of the work that I was able to do with him, but he had also just come in to talk to us as a creative about his past, where he is now and advice. I met awhile ago at various events and it’s refreshing to see people from Leeds, and people I know, develop and create amazing work for such a variety of clients. Underneath are the notes I was taking whilst he was talking about his experiences, work and tips around going towards freelancing.

smaller festivals and little competitions
luckily getting into job post editing and working with various people keeping open
looking for work around
got into illustration, from there working 8 till 6 then go draw and network
mixed media work
San Fransisco after talking to old contacts working, events and different things
came back for inkygoodness in london then joined an illustration agency
at the time it seemed as though joining one was the right thing to do, but it doesn’t give you lots of jobs but it does help and give you credit etc
make a contract etc
commercial work to get paid
using work you’ve created or done that may apply to others and use for them
moving around going from London to Brighton and meeting other people and ringing up people near by
illustration as a calling card for animation and moving image
working with others and allowing people to help each other
find things and being playful getting off the computers and doing something different
taking breaks and getting something different
because of being freelance trying different avenues and doing different versions of illustrations

looking at working with people
being careful of people who don’t have a clear outline or idea
communication working clearly and setting out what for and when and to do what
working for various people again
helping and working within studio houses ‘the neighbourhood’ working in an open plan office communicating
working in various and a large amount of areas like short with Lucas Film, TED, etc
try different things, be versatile looking at different people
make sure showreel is short, best work and a little bit but not all of it

remember to keep networking and not relying on magic emails
make an effort
Ira Glass on storytelling part 3 of 4

Making your life more creative

I was shown this lovely website by Sacha which contains a lot of discussions and look into ideas, creativity and interesting points around art, design, science, technology, philosophy and so on.
Brain Pickings is a human-powered discovery engine for interestingness, culling and curating cross-disciplinary curiosity-quenchers, and separating the signal from the noise to bring you things you didn’t know you were interested in until you are.
Here’s a link to the website if you’d like to have a look, http://www.brainpickings.org

Within this website there was a specific page that was brought to my attention which has made me think about the way in which I look at creativity and more specifically, the way I work.
I’m not sure if there is anyone that I know who doesn’t know who John Cleese is but for those who don’t, John Cleese is an English actor, comedian, writer and film producer most well-known for his work within Monty Python. John gives a great lecture upon some of the recipes to creativity at ‘Video Arts’ back in 1991.
Here’s the main points which he outlines as the basis of creativity which he sums up in five points.

Those five things that get you into the right mode.

1. Space (“You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”)
2. Time (“It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”)
3. Time (“Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision.)
4. Confidence (“Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”)
5. Humor (“The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else.”)

It’s interesting to see this very intense but humours way to look at creativity pivoting around these five main points. I really love the way in which he sees people’s thoughts and the world! There’s not so much I can write about his actual lecture as it seems as though it is something that people can interpret in their own way.

Be sure to watch his entire talk though as it does have some great points to look at as well as Cleese being funny and interesting through out.

Free Zine Fair

Sadly this is a fairly late post but I had recently gone to a Leeds Zine Fair which was placed in Wharf Chambers and Mexico in Leeds. It was a great day with lots on and some amazing untapped artists!

Although I hadn’t expected to actually purchase much if anything on the day but once I had arrived and looked around, I couldn’t help myself as there was so much amazing ‘eye candy’ as well as the understanding for the time and effort the various artists clearly put into their work. It was nice to speak to so many different creatives within one place especially as they all did different things and there were writers and poets there also. One thing that I realised whilst there was that, I find, there is always a struggle for animators to find something to animate that isn’t their own narrative so it was interesting to hear what the writers and poets thought about working with animators.

It was great to see some Leeds Art College Alumni there as well with some amazing work with the standard that you would expect from LCA. Underneath is a, not so great (sorry), image of a bunch of stuff I had bought and grabbed at the fair without an image of the amazing posters I also bought. It’s always great to see and appreciate other creatives work in something that you don’t really understand such as graphics as there is such a large area to understand, learn and specialise in.

Here’s a link to the website for more information on what went on at the fair as well as other events.

http://leedszinefair.footprinters.co.uk/

Bradford Animation Festival 2012 – Day 4

It was an incredibly sad day on Saturday as it was the final day of the Bradford Animation Festival set in the incredible Bradford Media Museum.

The day started off with a decision between Brave 3D or watching the talk on the Lifetime Achievement Award to John Halas. I didn’t actually know who John Halas was until that morning as well but because BAF was giving him the Lifetime Achievement Award I thought it’d be a good time and idea to find out. So I went into to the talk that was for John’s work in which we watched a documentary about John which was written and directed by Professor Paul Wells. The documentary had gone on for around 60 minutes and then after that we had watched three of his most famous short animations and then Paul presented his daughter, Vivien Halas, with the Lifetime Achievement Award for John. It was interesting to see the work that John created this was also more intriguing due to how Paul was describing his work as one of the create animators that are sadly not given the praise they deserve. John Halas’s career was vast and varying with 60 years of animation experience, and the animations aren’t exactly what you’d expect with the change in animation over the years. The documentary went through John’s life and then career with him setting up one of the most longest running and refined studios, with his wife Joy Batchelor, Halas and Batchelor. The animations were very different from one another but they followed a very common theme of being animated to emit emotion and to display emotion especially within music and sound. It was interesting and great to see with one animation that does feed into what I am doing at the moment, but it wasn’t the sort of work that suits my taste but I can still appreciate and understand the work he created.

I then had some lovely time to relax and chat to friends and various people again before heading to the exciting talk by Will Becher who is an animator at Aardman. Although I did hear his talk at Canterbury with model maker Jim Parkyn, it was great to see a much more focused talk on animation as well as it being different but still incredibly fun and interesting. Will had gone through the process to creating the animations but focusing on Aardman’s most recent feature film ‘The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists’. It was interesting to see that although they do still focus heavily on stop motion animation, they do implement the use of CG and other techniques to create the animations. Before Will had really gotten into his role and the work they had done within Pirates, he had talked a little bit about his past and then how he got to work at Aardman. He had actually showed us a clip of his short animation he created within his last year of University which focused on a stopmotion character, very simply animated but incredibly well already with him mentioning to focus on showing character based animation interacting with another character, if you are wanting to work for a studio after University. This was all about making sure we are aiming for the right studios with the correct demonstration of your work.
He then went onto a detailed description of the process with some lovely images and footage throughout the talk. Once again BAF and Will’s talk didn’t fail to let me down with some amazing information that’s inspirational and interesting which also made me want to look more into stopmotion once again. You also know it was a great talk when he discussed all the little tips and tricks that he does also that really opens up this closed off work and adds even more of a human touch to the animation. The talk also cleared up a lot of questions and methods that I’d never been able to get my head around such as how or if they block out the animations and that process in detail. I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it seems as though they also do use dope sheet styled layouts which break down the animation, this is great because I’ve been able to get my head around these now and understand them to use and write one up, but they are very ‘fiddly’ and a long process. It was good to also hear the expectations of an animator for instance, having each animator usually create 2 seconds of animation each day, but this is after all the pre-visual and development work with sound, acting out live parts and dope sheets. It seems to be a big focus within a lot of animators I got to speak to over the festival, is the use of live footage and real life reference and analysis and then adding that exaggeration and animators touch. Will had even brought along Captain Pirate and his trusty dodo to show us how he animates the face and just to allow people to look at it a bit closer!

After the talk and then getting to watch the film in 3D, I was able to talk to Will for a little while, asking him questions on his work and methods as well as asking about what he believes is the most important point in creating a believable character animation within stop motion. It seems though that a lot of focus again is centered around understanding the character and giving it that personality through careful animation. I also asked him about something around my dissertation with the 12 principles and animation theory. From the answers I got over the festival period, it seems as though a lot of the animators still use, although they don’t specifically aim or work from the list of principles and theory, all the principles and theories naturally within animation else it won’t work. With stop motion of course it’s a little different because they don’t have the ability to squash and stretch as much as you would for hand drawn or CG.

I then had time to just mingle and relax before the closing ceremony and awards event at the end of the night. I was able to speak to two of the guys from ‘Boy And The Dinosaur’ an upcoming kids animation series Directed by Paul Couvella and David Bunting. David Bunting and Matthew Stephenson were at the festival to, of course, check out all the festival events as well as reviewing portfolios and showreels as they are currently looking for artists, animators, designers and management staff. They were able to have a look at my current winter showreel which I’d asked about just to get some feedback and advice. The talk was great and it was really interesting to hear what they had to say about my showreel. I didn’t actually notice a lot of things that they’d mentioned which just shows how fast they notice even the smallest detail. I’ll now be able to work over my showreels in the future and just give a lot more thought to the content. Overall though I’ve been able to get some great feedback on my work and showreel to get it to a higher standard but it’s also given me a lot more confidence in my work as I’ve had a lot of very positive comments about it. Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to speak to a lot of the animators again and talk to the guys behind ‘Boy and the Dinosaur’ as it looks like a fun and interesting little animation I think I would love to understand more. If you’d like to find out more about the show and the current openings they have then be sure to check out the website I’ve linked below.
http://www.boyandthedinosaur.tv/

The night then went onto the awards and closing night celebrations. It was great to review all the animations with the great Barry Purves once again being the guest speaker for the night and seeing the lovely animation winners. To check out the winners be sure to head over to the Bradford Animation Festival’s website which I’ve linked below which goes directly to the award winners.
http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/BradfordAnimationFestival/Promos/News/BAF2012AwardWinners.aspx
I must admit that I do love ‘Oh Willy…’ by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels and ‘Buy Buy Baby’ by Gervais Merryweather which ‘Oh Willy’ I first saw in Canterbury and ‘Buy Buy Baby’ through BAF. Both of them are very different animations but both lovely and incredibly well thought out, if you haven’t seen them, then you should.

Here are their trailers..

And finally what was a lovely day, ended with a fun, humours but still very animation educating night with all the different people from the festival. It was great to be able to just have a drink and chat with all the different people in such a relaxed environment. I was also able to some what interview Joanna Quinn for my dissertation but this went on to just having a chat about the festival, herself and general chat. It was great to hear more about her which is something I love about festivals like BAF, being able to know the human side to these idols and behind the animations. It was an eye-opening and great talk with Joanna which I’ve luckily been able to have with a lot of other brilliant animators with an incredible amount to take away and learn. Thankfully the festival has given me the confidence, inspiration and the knowledge to know what I need to do and clarify where I want to go and a very confusing and tough time as it’s now the last year I’ll have within education completely unless I choose to do a Masters course.
Whether I get to volunteer or not next year or if I’m working, I’ll most defiantly be there again.

Here’s a short video of some of the highlights of Bradford Animation Festival that they were able to put together.

Underneath is also a link to Skwigly’s good look at the highlights and winners of the festival with some lovely photos, the trailers of all the winners from the festival and of course a great photo of the BAFettes! Woo!
http://www.skwigly.co.uk/bradford-animation-festival-2012-highlights-and-winners/

Bradford Animation Festival 2012 – Day 3

So there goes another brilliant day at Bradford Animation Festival with even more amazing speakers, students and fun times!
The day started off with a very big debate which I think has been the toughest choice of the entire festival! Was I going to the documentary based on the amazing Chuck Jones, ‘The Magical World of Chuck Jones’, or head to a talk about ‘Bridging the gap from University to Professional Animator’? I went for bridging the gap… because I was hoping that the documentary would one day be within my possession whilst I couldn’t really see the talk around bridging the gap again.

I didn’t take as many notes as I have previously over all today as it’s been a day filled with just eating up all the information and lovely visuals rather than writing it all down as I may have not found as many points to focus upon.
With ‘Bridging the gap from University to Professional Animator’ it was interesting to see how Bradford University allows and makes its students get that industry experience that is so key within the creative industry. It seems as though it’s a lot more structured to the course rather than simply letting the students find the work and organising it themselves. Although it seems like a great way to get people involved, it seemed as though it was still quite nurtured and a lot of creative control was by tutors which sometimes I miss but I’m glad I’m getting to learn from my own mistakes but still it’s still reassuring to have that back up if I ever needed it. The talk had gone through a lot of what the student and tutor had to go through in order to create a short animation for a client and what they both had to do and how they went around it. I’ve yet to deal with pay when doing these sorts of work but it was great to see that there is still chance to ask for costs to be paid and starting that side of the professional experience a lot earlier. It was more interesting to hear their points and the experience they had with the clients so I found it better to take it as advice rather than taking the notes and looking as reference.

Once we had moved on from the bridging talk I had then headed over to ‘The Animation and Games for New Platforms’ talk, the notes are on the same page as ‘Bridging the gap from University to Professional Animator’. The were two main speaking teams within the talk, Peter Stehlik and Jaromir Placky from Aminata and Simon Iwaniszak and Barry Lowndes from Red Kite. It was quite hard to keep track of what was going on with Aminata’s talk as I think there was just some communication and language differences but I think they got the point of their presentation across in a lovely and fun way. They had gone through a lot of pictures and quickly described the process and ideas they had and how they came about to creating these lovely characters for ‘Botanicula’ before moving onto Jaromir’s personal animation work. The characters and trailers they had played were lovely and I think the entirety of Pictureville agreed with me as everyone had a fairly loud giggle and soft spot for the odd characters that the team had created. Once they had moved onto Jaromir’s personal animation, where the characters came from, he opened a mad but simple world that was filled with very solid characters that were incredibly simple designs but with the sound and mad movements really came alive in a fun and humours way. It was interesting to see that he did prefer to work in Flash with his animations and game work which just brings me back to the question I’ve been asking myself a lot recently with the decision to buy Toon Boom or keep with Flash. From discussions with other 2D animators though it seems as though Toon Boom would be a wise purchase for drawn animation using cells within a piece of software, but I still have lots to learn and a good way would be just in stages.
The second part of the talk was interesting and great to see a Leeds based company do something different and be open. Although the company is new hopefully Firefly: The Adventures of Switch, an iOS based side scroll game will do wonders for them and keep growing.

Of course next was one of the two crazy highlights of my day but as it’s ended it was all brilliant as usual. We had the great pleasure of having Mark Shapiro from Laika speaking to us about the work that went into the creation of Paranorman and he also talked a little about Coraline. I did have a very big ‘nerd out’ through the entire talk because after watching Paranorman I’ve suddenly grown somewhat of a new love for stop motion animation and a new appreciation to Laika. Within the time of them creating Coraline and then Paranorman they have become one of my most favourite animation studios so it was great to see more ‘behind the scenes’ and a personal side to the company. Mark did explain a lot of details that had been nagging me over time about Laika and it was inspiring to hear him mention about how many ‘Brit’s’ are within Laika which just opens the possibility of other studios also as it shows the acceptance that people in the US have of over seas animators and workers. It was inspiring and brilliant to see the passion and love these people have for their work, characters and each other. There were some little hidden tricks and slight changes that they had done whilst creating the film to add style or perspective that I didn’t even notice even though I thought I was quite analytical of the film, as you may have read in an earlier post about Paranorman. Little touches light not having a single straight edge within the film or having that realistic nature but with a designed touch. It was interesting to hear him mention about other mediums and discuss how he believes that certain stories fit various mediums and was using Paranorman as an example, although the entire film could have been CG they kept it hand drawn because that’s what the story needed. It becomes a lot more apparent that the mediums the animators and film makers choose to use wouldn’t hinder or make the film better but would only support the story and characters and for some animations certain mediums support that story better. This is something I think I will be touching upon within my dissertation, but its a common interest when people are discussing what medium is ‘the best’. Mark had brought a lot of short videos about various parts of the process to make Paranorman at Laika and a general behind the scenes look. This is why there aren’t that many notes as I may have expected at first due to my ‘giddy-ness’ but it was great to see it all and hear some of the animators and team talk about the work. The most surprising and interesting short though was one of the animators going through the set up he had to do with one frame of the animation which went on for around 5 minutes and this was sped up! When he says one frame as well he doesn’t mean one second, but one frame within 24 frames which adds up to one second. It was an incredible and meticulous process that I know put off Steve as he mentioned he could never do that but maybe I’m just weird but I thought to myself whilst watching it ‘This is nuts, but I’d be there in a heart beat’. Once again though it was great to talk to Mark afterwards later that day but I sadly missed the puppets of Norman, Coraline and one of the zombies but for a very good reason.

It was time for the long-awaited life drawing workshop with the amazing Joanna Quinn. I had sadly missed this last year and was determined not to miss it this year so I had booked both this workshop and Curtis Jobling’s workshop as soon as I knew I could. The workshop though was brilliant, I don’t think I need to say anymore! It was a lovely environment with a lovely bunch of people and although Joanna doesn’t exactly do teaching, she was a brilliant teacher. It was great to get a hands on look at some of the theories I’ve been looking at through my modules and apply these to something with someone like Joanna explaining what it all means. Hopefully through just this workshop my animation skills will improve and I think I have gotten a greater understanding of the movement and detail she, and a lot of other animators, speak a lot about. Although the drawings I did weren’t exactly ‘master pieces’ I think I understood the way in which she was making us look more at the shape, curves and movement rather than drawing all the detail and focusing on too much of the little things and shading. I did write a few notes here and there on some of the drawings I did but I really do love two of them just because of how much they opened my eyes and not because they look brilliant. It was something that I wish was more regular with a similar if not same group as it was so relaxed and fun but incredibly educational in terms of gaining that knowledge and appreciating each others approaches. It was also a nice surprise to have Valerie Kausen, Chuck Jones’ granddaughter who spoke yesterday, next to me and having a nice chat every now and again. It’s been some what of another surreal but great day; I do apologise for using the words inspiring, great, brilliant, lovely and fun but it seems as though that’s just what BAF is.

Here are some quick images of the ‘aftermath’ of the session and then my drawings and my two favourite ones, which is actually also one that Valerie had drawn on as well as a great Sunderland animation student which I had asked Valerie if she could sign, as you do.

To finish the day I also did something I truly do regret not doing last year, which is just getting more involved with the BAFter hours events such as the animation quiz. So I stuck around this time and was able to have a chat with a lot of people again such as Mark Shapiro and Joanna Quinn. It was a nice big relaxed fun house where we just chilled out and tried to answer some great questions about animation! It was teams of five and it was clear that there were some great ones but luckily I was grabbed by some of my friends who are volunteers into a team and came second! For the first time I was actually able to answer questions in a quiz and we came to the same conclusions with a lot of them at the same time. It was just a fun-filled end to another great day, sadly the winning team did take all the books straight away which where amazing but we did get something awesome anyway! They also had lots of left over little goodies so it was a bit of a mad but hilarious scramble for freebies, I’m sure I’ll find a use for a Rango mug and flip-flops…